In the News Archive

July 19, 2013

Thirsty clean energy may add to water stressed world

As the world gets hotter and drier thanks to our predilection for burning fossil fuels, the technologies we need to reduce emissions could be too thirsty to be sustainable. Read More...



July 19, 2013

Tech Advances May Make Desalination More Prevalent

Research into improving desalination of sea water has seen two promising developments that might significantly reduce the cost of the process, according to their researchers. Read More...



July 15, 2013

Stakes are high in state, federal water contract negotiations

Gov. Jerry Brown's plan to build two massive water diversion tunnels in the Delta has hogged the spotlight in the crowded theater of California water issues. But contract negotiations going on backstage could prove just as significant. Read More...



June 6, 2013

California Water Rates and the “New Normal”

Water service providers are facing new challenges in forecasting and preparing for future water demand, staying fiscally solvent while providing fair prices, incorporating conservation and efficiency, and communicating clearly to customers about rates and service. Read More...



May 30, 2013

Researchers Putting More Snow Sensors in the Sierra

Cheaper sensor technology is bringing to light more information about California’s snowpack as researchers study how climate change will alter the state’s water resources. Read More...



May 28, 2013

States dependent on Colorado River consider conservation effort

Officials in the seven states that depend on the drought-beset Colorado River expressed a cautious willingness Tuesday to join the federal government in a complex, possibly contentious effort to step up conservation. Read More...



April 28, 2013

A possible new way to manage water and snow in thirsty California

Like a pitcher taking the mound on opening day, Frank Gehrke gets the spotlight in California every early April. That’s when the otherwise obscure state water official trudges into the Sierra Nevada mountains, media in tow, and plunges aluminum tubes into the snow. Read More...



March 28, 2013

Snow survey points to dry year

January through March in the Northern Sierra Nevada is likely to go down as the driest such period since California began surveying its mountain snowpack in the 1920s. Read More...



March 22, 2013

World Water Day: Why it matters

With much of the Earth's surface covered in water, 70 percent to be exact, it's hard to imagine that there could ever be a problem with water shortages, much less such scarcity that a global security issue has been shaped. Read More...



March 14, 2013

California releases part of plan to restore delta

California water officials released on Thursday the first part of a $23 billion plan to restore and protect the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta ecosystem and guarantee a stable water supply for millions of Californians. Read More...



March 5, 2013

New hearing on delta smelt, water deals

A federal appeals court granted a new hearing Tuesday to environmentalists challenging the government's decision to renew 41 long-term contracts for water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta for agriculture purposes, an action that opponents say would threaten the endangered delta smelt and worsen conditions in the delta. Read More...



March 3, 2013

Gov. Jerry Brown works to spread California's green doctrine

When Gov. Jerry Brown called on his fellow governors at a conference in Washington last week to embrace a California-style pursuit of cleaner air, he was doing more than reinforcing the state's image as an environmental trailblazer. Read More...



March 1, 2013

For some of state's water supply, thank Africa

Some of the water flowing from Orange County taps might have arrived courtesy of the Sahara Desert, a new study of high-flown atmospheric dust reveals. Read More...



February 27, 2013

California starts year with record dry conditions

California is poised to shatter an all-time weather record by notching the driest January-February period in recorded history across the northern Sierra Nevada. Read More...



February 21, 2013

Drought forecast to persist in much of U.S., especially the West

Much of the West continues to struggle with unusually dry conditions, raising the prospect of another year of wildfires, stunted crops and unnavigable stretches of river in various parts of the country, according to a federal assessment. Read More...



February 14, 2013

Fish kills trigger water delivery slowdown; local agencies prepared

The deaths of 232 threatened Delta smelt in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River triggered a steep reduction in water deliveries last week affecting 25 million Californians and millions of acres of farmland. Read More...



February 9, 2013

Delta water diversions reduced to protect smelt

Federal wildlife officials Friday ordered substantial cuts in water diversions from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to protect a rare fish. Read More...



February 6, 2013

Governor pitches water tunnel project to farmers

Gov. Jerry Brown waded into potentially hostile territory Wednesday as he pitched his $14 billion plan to reshape California's water-delivery system by building massive tunnels below the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Read More...



February 5, 2013

Boxer, Feinstein bill would designate the Delta as a national heritage area

California senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer introduced legislation this week to declare the Delta a “national heritage area,” the first in the state. Read More...



January 30, 2013

Federal judge in Fresno rejects extension for smelt, salmon plans

A federal judge in Fresno on Wednesday declined to give federal officials more time to update a plan that protects threatened delta smelt and endangered salmon species in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Read More...



January 29, 2013

Dry January shrinks snowpack

A dry January has shrunken the snowpack across the Sierra Nevada, a vital water resource for many California farms and cities. Read More...



January 24, 2013

Editorial: Can governor broker a water peace treaty?

Gov. Jerry Brown is sure to highlight water in his State of the State address today. Less clear are the answers to two key questions: Read More...



January 24, 2013

Gov. Brown puts a price tag on protecting major water supply

In his State of the State address Thursday, Gov. Jerry Brown reiterated his pitch to protect California’s water supply. But in a speech lawmakers repeatedly interrupted with applause, Brown’s plea to spend billions on water elicited silence. Read More...



January 9, 2013

Delta panel sets target end date

If all goes according to plan, and all the pieces come together, the Delta Plan will become operational on July 1, 2013, six months past the legislative deadline of Dec. 31, 2012, but phenomenally quick considering the mandate to create a new government entity to take action on longstanding problems in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Read More...



January 9, 2013

Drought always just a year away in California

Among the unknowns for the months ahead in California is whether this will, in fact, be a dry year. Read More...



January 8, 2013

Farmers crossing fingers that snowpack will hold up

HANFORD — Unless you’re into snow sports, you probably don’t think twice about the size of the Sierra snowpack. Read More...



January 8, 2013

California congressional leaders send letter to Secretary Salazar requesting detailed briefing on the BDCP

Received via email, this letter to Secretary Ken Salazar of the U.S. Department of the Interior and Acting Secretary Rebecca Blank of the U. S. Department of Commerce from Congressmembers Mike Thompson, George Miller, Jerry McNerney, Doris Matsui, John Garamendi, and Jackie Speier: Read More...



January 8, 2013

2012 was hottest year on record for Lower 48 states

Last year was the hottest year on record for the contiguous 48 states, marked by near-record numbers of extreme weather events such as drought, wildfire, tornadoes and storms, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Read More...



January 7, 2013

Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta fish populations plunge again

Six Delta fish species that have been monitored for decades experienced population declines last year, likely marking a return to poor habitat conditions that have plagued the estuary. Read More...



December 18, 2012

Examining California's Water Footprint

Before talking about "water footprint," it's probably best to explain it. Whereas water usage is simply the measure of how much of the life-giving liquid people are using on a regular basis (taking a shower, watering the lawn, etc.), water footprint's a bit more all-encompassing. Read More...



December 13, 2012

Colorado River Water Shortage Predicted for Western States

The Colorado River won’t be able to support the growing population of California and other Western states, according to a federal study released Wednesday. Read More...



December 13, 2012

Talk of Revamping Water Bond to Heat Up in 2013

There’s a push for a new look at the $11 billion water bond now scheduled for California’s November 2014 ballot. Read More...



December 11, 2012

Most of California's water footprint tied to food production

These days, there’s a lot of discussion of carbon footprints. A new study by the Pacific Institute focuses on another footprint, that of water. Read More...



December 6, 2012

Judge OKs Delta reservoirs project

A quarter-century-old plan to convert two Delta islands into reservoirs can move forward, a judge has ruled. Read More...



December 5, 2012

Reservoirs Have Plenty of Room

Despite the series of storms that brought several inches of rain to Northern California, there is still plenty of storage space available in Sacramento area reservoirs. Read More...



November 28, 2012

Arctic sea ice larger than US melted this year

An area of Arctic sea ice bigger than the United States melted this year, according the U.N. weather agency, which said the dramatic decline illustrates that climate change is happening "before our eyes." Read More...



November 27, 2012

Whiting: Weather changes could be seen at tap

With drought conditions in most areas west of the Mississippi, is it time to bar windows, bolt doors and hoard water? Read More...



November 26, 2012

EPA strengthens water quality guidelines for beaches

The Environmental Protection Agency updated water quality guidelines for the nation's beaches Monday, moving in response to charges that the federal government has not done enough to protect bathers from polluted water. Read More...



November 7, 2012

Feds to evaluate rates charged for Delta water

The federal government is reviewing how much its clients pay for water pumped out of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, and will update the public on the process on Nov. 16 in Sacramento. Read More...



October 29, 2012

State lakes half full or half empty?

On the eve of the rainy season, managers of California's water supply and recreation lakes are banking on a wet winter. Read More...



October 25, 2012

Different groups find water conservation is low-hanging fruit

Where some might only see sprinklers shooting water while oscillating back and forth, more groups and citizens notice something else entirely: significant potential for water conservation. Read More...



October 25, 2012

'Electric surfing safari' focuses on pollution

Two Orange County surfers have taken their passion for water activities and transformed it into a passion for the water's health. Read More...



October 8, 2012

Drought concerns rise as weather, reservoirs eyed

When Californians suffer under oppressive heat, as they have for weeks, another concern is sure to follow: drought. Read More...



October 1, 2012

Drought conditions in California expected to worsen

When Californians suffer under oppressive heat, as they have for weeks, another concern is sure to follow: drought. Read More...



September 24, 2012

Assembly Bill to Help Protect Waterways

A bill authored by Assemblyman Das Williams to protect local waters from mussel infestation has been signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown. Read More...



September 17, 2012

U.S. Paying a Price for Lack of Water Policy

The worst drought since at least the 1950s has barely registered on political radar screens this year. Water doesn't make it into convention or stump speeches, or onto bumper stickers or campaign signs. Read More...



August 25, 2012

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA ESCAPES EFFECTS OF DROUGHT — FOR NOW

On the banks of the boulder-studded Yampa River, outdoor outfitter Peter Van De Carr whiled away a recent morning as he watched flow levels fluctuate on his smartphone and told caller after caller that the river was too low for inner-tubing. Again. Read More...



August 22, 2012

Study: Urban Water Use Will Outpace Efficiency Gains

You installed a low-flow toilet. You take fast showers. Your yard is water-wise and drought-tolerant. And even if everyone in California were just like you, which they’re not — yet — the state would still see a significant bump in urban water demand by the end of the century. Read More...



August 11, 2012

Redirecting Fresh Water Raises Fears for Farmers

On the last Sunday of July, this small town in the Sacramento River’s delta takes a pause from the peak of the pear harvest season by holding its annual pear fair. A pear run, a pear parade, a pear pie eating contest and a pear fair queen are as much a part of life’s rhythm here as the pruning, picking and packing of pears. Read More...



August 10, 2012

White Paper Looks at Proposed Ocean Desalination Plants in California

Interest in ocean desalination remains high in California, with 17 projects proposed for development along the California coast, according to the first in a series of white papers by the Pacific Institute. Read More...



August 1, 2012

California Governor Jerry Brown and Federal Officials Outline Delta Plan

Calling a revised plan to address problems in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta the "path forward," Gov. Brown and federal officials called for an end to "analysis paralysis" and for action on long-studied solutions to habitat restoration and water supply reliability. Read More...



July 31, 2012

California prepares for harsh realities of changing climate

A series of state-sponsored scientific studies released Tuesday warns that California can expect more scorching heat waves, severe and damaging wildfires, emergency room visits and strain on the electric grid as the Earth continues to warm and sea levels rise along the state's 1,100-mile long coast. Read More...



July 26, 2012

Gov Proposes Huge Underground Tunnels to Move Water North to South in California

Governor Jerry Brown and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar yesterday announced details of an expensive plan to ensure the future of Southern California's water supply (specifically, the supply shipped from Northern California). Read More...



July 24, 2012

California's next North-vs.-South battle over water begins Wednesday

Opening a major new chapter in California's decades-old battle over water, Gov. Jerry Brown is scheduled Wednesday to unveil plans to build a $14 billion pair of tunnels to move water more easily from the north to the thirsty south. Read More...



July 17, 2012

Drought In U.S. Now Worst Since 1956; Food Prices To Spike, Economy To Suffer

With about 55 percent of the continental U.S. suffering from "moderate to extreme drought" conditions the nation is withering under conditions that haven't been this bad since 1956, according to a new report from National Climatic Data Center. Read More...



July 12, 2012

Engineer: Fix Deltas levees, don’t build peripheral tunnels

California taxpayers would be on the hook for billions of dollars from a plan to reroute much of the Sacramento River away from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, says a letter to Gov. Read More...



July 9, 2012

Gov. Brown signs bill delaying water bond to 2014

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill delaying a vote on an $11 billion water bond until November 2014. Read More...



July 3, 2012

California lawmakers likely to vote to postpone $11 billion water bond... again

California state lawmakers are expected to vote this week to postpone a multi-billion-dollar water bond slated to be on the November ballot. Read More...



July 2, 2012

Rainy season ends with below normal precipitation

The 2011-12 rainy season -- which ran from July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012 -- has come to an end with less than impressive numbers, according to figures compiled by the National Weather Service. Read More...



June 30, 2012

San Joaquin River restoration will cost $900m

On the flat west-Valley prairie, the San Joaquin River looks like any other irrigation ditch amid tomato, garlic and onion fields -- except that this ditch has a $900 million future. Read More...



June 13, 2012

Peripheral Canal opponents urge Interior to block project

Thirty-eight environmental, fishing, consumer, Native American and other groups are urging the Obama Administration to throttle state plans to build a peripheral canal. Read More...



June 11, 2012

Odds of El Niño's Arrival Pegged at 50/50

The U.S. Climate Prediction Center has issued an El Niño watch, saying there is a 50 percent chance the periodic climate change phenomenon will develop during the second half of this year. Read More...



June 8, 2012

Grim water future for Central Valley predicted

Declines in precipitation, increases in temperatures, more frequent and longer droughts, and increased urban water demand could result in significant reductions in streamflows, reducing the water available for animal and plant habitats and for agricultural irrigation, and could result in a fundamental shift to dependence on groundwater in the Central Valley. Read More...



May 22, 2012

A Fine Brine: New Desalination Technique Yields More Drinkable Water

More than a third of the world already suffers from shortages of potable water—with a rise to 50 percent expected by 2025. Desalination of seawater can help coastal communities can address local shortfalls, although the process is costly, and releasing leftover brine back to the ocean has environmental implications. Now a new system promises to produce more drinkable water with less salty effluent. Read More...



May 18, 2012

Jerry Brown defends California, pegs water project at $14 billion

Gov. Jerry Brown said in an interview televised this morning that the water project he proposes this year will be a $14 billion endeavor. The Democratic governor's remark suggests the administration is fine-tuning its proposal for a peripheral canal or other way to move water through or around the Delta, even as a public announcement has been delayed. In January, Brown said the project would cost water users "well over $10 billion." Read More...



May 15, 2012

State officials release draft of Delta Plan

State officials Monday released a far-ranging "road map" for the Delta of the future, a complex web of strategies intended to save the estuary's ecosystem, secure its role as a source of water for much of the state and protect some of its unique attributes. Read More...



May 8, 2012

Draft plan for canal delayed

State officials announced a delay last week in a draft plan to build a peripheral canal or tunnel, triggering concern Friday from water districts dependent on diversions from the Delta. Read More...



May 5, 2012

California governor warns water plan controversial

Gov. Jerry Brown warned this week that his administration's soon-to-be unveiled plan to tackle the state's water delivery challenges is "going to be controversial" but vowed he would "push it through." Read More...



May 1, 2012

REGION: State ends water year on disappointing note

Frank Gehrke, chief of snow surveys for the Department of Water Resources, walks across a snow free meadow during the snow survey at Echo Summit Calif., Tuesday, May 1, 2012. Saying it's "not a surprise, especially considering the type of year we've had this year," Read More...



April 28, 2012

Drought: Will there be a call on the Colorado River?

A compact call looms in the 10th year of sustained drought in the Colorado River Basin. The Upper Basin, which includes all of Colorado, would have to send water downstream, and would be faced with dramatic curtailment measures. Read More...



April 24, 2012

Senate panel approves water bill with provisions for California farmers

The Interior Department would prepare new plans to boost water deliveries and storage in California’s Central Valley, potentially under streamlined environmental reviews, under a funding bill approved by a key Senate panel Tuesday. Read More...



April 16, 2012

State Water Project allocation increased to 60 percent

Originally, DWR projected in November that it would be able to supply 60 percent of the slightly more than 4 million acre-feet of SWP water requested, but a dry December, January and February dropped that figure to 50 percent. Read More...



April 8, 2012

California's water wars could heat up

Republican Rep. Devin Nunes of Visalia introduced water legislation in the House 10 months ago so extreme that it would have pre-empted the state Endangered Species Act and allowed the federal government to control California's water resources. Read More...



April 3, 2012

California's Water: Water: The Best Deal Around

Water is essential to our daily lives, but few people stop to consider its value and importance, especially when compared to bottled water and other everyday products. Tap water costs less than a penny a gallon, but like many basic services, that cost is going up. Read More...



April 2, 2012

California's water supplies below average despite March storms

A wet March boosted California's water supply, but it wasn't enough to make up for a dry December and January. The state Department of Water Resources today conducted its latest monthly snow survey. Because California normally receives most of its annual precipitation by the end of March, the April survey often decides how much water the state will have to get through summer. Read More...



March 26, 2012

Valley Voice: Shore up California water supply before major earthquake hits

As Californians, we're all keenly aware of the “Big One” that's looming. We imagine that most local residents consider the potential impact of an earthquake in their community. So we buy earthquake kits, flashlights, bottled water, extra canned food for our homes — we take action to prepare. Read More...



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